Jones Gibson is a photographer and the creator of the "Because of Them, We Can ... " Campaign, which aims to empower and excite youth about black history. The campaign began in D.C. and is being expanded across the country.
Tell me about the campaign.
It's a campaign that launched during Black History Month to pretty much modernize black history. I was inspired by my sons. ... I just began to think about how many opportunities my kids have and I have and individuals as a whole have as a result of the accomplishments of notable and some unnotable black individuals. And so I wanted to highlight those people.
How is photography involved in the campaign?
What we're doing is we're engaging kids across the country to stand in the shoes of individuals that have paved the way and continue to pave the way. When we started off, we kicked the campaign off with my son. ... [I]t was a picture of him with his fist toward the camera in [an] iconic pose that Muhammad Ali was known for taking. And alongside his picture was a quote by Muhammad Ali. At the bottom, it says, "Because of them, we can." We're using photos to educate people about these individuals that they may not have heard of in school.
Why do you think it's important for today's youth to learn about black history?
For me it's really important because I think it would contribute to self-esteem. ... Imagine how inspiring it is as a kid to understand that the Super Soaker that you're playing with outside was created by someone who looks like you. That to me is inspiring, and that's very powerful, and I feel like it's important that we understand the depth of our contribution and the potential and future contribution.
- Naomi Jagoda